Positive Feedback

The Ear Community Organization
“Melissa, thank you SO much!! i actually found your website after i posted this on your support group and felt like i had hit the jackpot! there was so much information and i am still going through it all. i finally feel like i am starting to understand some of what we are going through and what action we need to take.”
Emily McConnell (support group member)
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“Worried and looking for answers, I started digging deeper. Finally, I found Melissa Tumblin and Ear Community through the Microtia and Atresia Support Group. Melissa became the light at the end of the tunnel—she gave us something hopeful to look forward to.  The emotional support that Melissa gave me was incredible — we cried together, dealt with it together. We found research to help teach Ava sign language and started teaching her at 6 months. Dealing with the social aspect can cause a lot of anxiety. Melissa was immensely helpful in getting through that stage.  I don’t think Melissa truly understands what she’s done for me. If I can help one family worry less and enjoy their child more as she’s done for me, that’s an accomplishment.  I’ve made great friends through Ear Community and paying it forward has been the best thing. Melissa has truly inspired me. Thank you so much!”
Shannon Katuszonek ( support group member – California)
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“We are proud to follow your incredible work online in educating the general community, as well as bringing together families who have children affected with Microtia. I realize the passion and time you have devoted to this cause, and commend you far beyond the words this message would ever be able to portray. Our family will continue to follow you and we are excited at the possibility to attend a future picnic event in our area so that we are able to thank you in person for what you’ve done, and continue to do. Your passion is truly amazing & a wonderful thing!”
Kevin McKay (support group member)
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“When I got to speak with Melissa over the phone, that’s when I came to ease. She had every answer, advice and encouragement that we needed! We finally got with an audiologist and ENT, the ball is finally rolling!  The California Picnic was amazing! I finally got to meet Melissa and other families.  The Microtia and Atresia Support Group has been an incredible source of communication and education. It is comforting knowing so many other families that are going through the same thing.  My family and I traveled from Prescott, Arizona to Pleasanton, California! I definitely appreciate Ear Community and all that Melissa does for my family! We can’t wait for next year’s picnic!”
Kristy Smith (support group member – Arizona)
_____________________________________”You have no idea how much your group, website and information means to us and I want to personally thank you for all that you do!  My family just wanted to give you and your team the biggest of thanks for this past weekend’s family picnic in Orlando! Not only did the girls have a great time with all the activities and food, my wife and I found it very informative and well worth the time. our daughter loved wearing her “Microtia Kids Rock” t-shirt so much we had to wash it right away so she could wear it to school the next day.   Thank you!”
Mark and Lisa Dresbach Johnson (support group members – Florida)
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“I wanted to thank you for not only answering my questions that i have regarding my daughter but providing me with more information and solutions for children with Microtia/Artesia.When Kimora and I arrived at your picnic this past summer i was very pleased and finally comfortable. My daughter finally got to play with children that had the same conditions as her. I loved all the information that was given to me that day. For the first time my daughter got to play like a normal child and did not have to worry about other people starring at her ear. Once again, thank you for creating this page and Ear Community and having your wonderful picnics. See you next summer!!”
Bliss Holland (support group member – Colorado)
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“I wanted to take the time to say how wonderful both the Ear Community and the Microtia and Atersia Community Support groups are.  In addition, they have been extremely helpful, informative, as well as comforting.  I really want to thank you for the amazing job you do and all the hope you bring!”
Lorryn Ruiz, (support group member – New Jersey)
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“What Melissa is doing with Ear Community will revolutionize how the world thinks about Microtia and Atresia in the future. What Melissa has done is just incredible. I applaud her efforts and what she is doing for the Microtia and Atresia community. Thank you for your commitment to these families and to medical professionals everywhere.”
Dr. John Reinisch, M.D. (Microtia Medpor/Su Por reconstructive surgeon – California)
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“Melissa- I say it time and again, I don’t know what I would have done if it wasn’t for the Ear Community.  I found out that my daughter had atresia at 2am in the hospital two days after giving birth and w/out my husband by my side (he went home to get rest). Up all night on the internet trying to figure out why and what it meant that she was missing her ear canal. I stumbled upon Ear Community and I am so thankful I did!!! This got me through such a difficult time! Thank you a million times again! It was so amazing to meet you at the Ear Community picnic!  I know I cried when I met you, but after my daughter was born, I would feel so sad and then go to your website (every night) and it would make me feel better.  Thank you, thank you Melissa!”
Melissa Dubno Geller (support group member – Connecticut)
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“The Ear Community family and nonprofit has transformed the way parents who have children with microtia and atresia communicate with each other.  Ear Community offers extremely informative and unbiased options for families seeking help. I am honored to be on the advisory board.”
Dr. Arturo Bonilla, M.D. (Microtia rib graft reconstructive surgeon – Texas)
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“Ear Community’s website provided me with helpful articles related to different surgery procedures, new technologies, and advocacy information. Furthermore I was able to connect with others who were blessed with Microtia all over the world. I accepted and was comfortable with living with Microtia and started reaching out to others through Facebook on the Ear Community page. This led to group discussions and empowerment for myself and to others.  If I would have never gone to the Ear Community’s picnic in Columbus, Ohio surrounded by my Microtia peers I may have never had the courage to have the surgery. My experience at this group event changed my life for the better and was very memorable.”
Camilla Gilbert, (Ear Community Board of Directors member – Ohio)
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“Thank you again for starting Ear Community.  I am so incredibly impressed by how quickly Ear Community and your support group have grown and how valuable they have quickly become to so many families around the WORLD! I can’t imagine how hard you have worked and I hope it feels rewarding to you. Thank you for creating such an open and accepting, supportive, and helpful community. I know you receive many thanks from families, physicians, etc., but thank you for all that you do Melissa.”
Megan Thomas (anaplastologist – Wisconsin)
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“I am so excited to find this site!  I was looking for CEU courses on Audiology Online and Poof, there you were!  My son has unilateral microtia and atresia. He loves his “Nemo Ear.”  It is so refreshing to speak with another mother who has a child with M/A and can understand personally and professionally where I am coming from.”
Dr. Summer Heard, Au. D. (audiologist – Alabama)
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“I whole heartedly endorse the Ear Community as a warm and supportive community for individuals who were born with Microtia and Atresia and hearing loss.  All Audiologists should consider making the Ear Community website the “Go To” place for a support community for individuals and families regarding their options for managing hearing loss and minimizing its negative impact on daily life through technology and/or reconstructive surgical options.”
Dr. Linda Cox, Au.D., CED (audiologist and teacher of the deaf – Florida)
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“Ear Community founded by Melissa Tumblin fills a large whole in the body of information that is currently available to individuals with Microtia, young or old.  Real experiences and feelings, shared by patients or families faced with the same decisions about treatments or by others who already live with the outcome of a particular treatement provide that additional dimension that helps make a more comfortable well-informed decision.“
Greg Gion, MMS, CCA (anaplastologist – Wisconsin)
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“Words of Wisdom…Ear Community is just that – a community of patients, families, and advocates for children and adults alike with microtia/atresia.  It is a valuable online resource putting patients and families together – both virtually and physically – to discuss experiences, joys, disappointments, options, and technologies in the arenas of hearing rehabilitation, microtia surgery, and atresia repair. Thank you, thank you for providing this support to families. It is through sites like yours and people like you that families get accurate and important information about how best to take care of their little loved ones.  My sincere appreciation to you for what you have done.”
Dr. Bradly Kesser, M.D. (Otologist/Neurotologist/ENT – Virginia)
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“Prior to the development of the Ear Community website, it was a very difficult process for someone with Microtia/Atresia or their loved ones to become educated about all of the issues and options surrounding this condition. The Ear Community took on that challenge in a thoughtful and all-inclusive way to create a true online community providing support and education to fill the large void that currently exists in the medical community with respect to information about Microtia and Atresia.”
Dr. Sheryl Lewin, M.D. (Microtia Medpor/Su Por reconstructive surgeon – California)
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“Parents and patients are almost always faced with a need to efficiently gather accurate facts in treatment decision making regarding A-M.  Fortunately for all of us, new options are available and will continue to emerge for years.  Ear Community is a wonderful place to discuss ideas, experiences and options with other parents and patients undergoing treatment – a valuable and wonderful resource for you.”
Dr. Joseph Roberson, M.D. (Otologist/Neurotologist/ENT – California)
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“Ear Community is a one-of-a-kind resource that empowers families and gives professionals insight into the patient and family journeys and the psychosocial impact of microtia/atresia.  Fueled by the limitless passion and enthusiasm of its founder, Melissa Tumblin, Ear Community advances our collective understanding of microtia/atresia to help ensure the best possible outcomes for each individual.”
Dr. Carolyn Smaka, Au. D. (audiologist – Texas)
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“We believe in Ear Community and the blessing that you, Melissa,  have been personally to our family.”
Jenni Hartley Sheneman (son, Tray, is a hearing device recipient through Ear Community – Georgia) 


Microtia and Atresia Support Group on Facebook
“Hello Melissa, wow. I’ve never been so touched. This is the first time I’ve ever gotten a response from someone let alone a website. I have joined hundreds of groups only to be disappointed and quitting countless accounts. I really do appreciate the fact that you did all of this. Words can’t explain how I feel right now. Someone actually heard my cry for help. I will definitely connect to the new forum.  Thank you!”
  • J.  Rivera, support support group member

“My daughter is 3 1/2years old and for the first time today I feel like we have direction and are getting somewhere with her microtia and atresia. This is all thanks to this group and Ear Community. Melissa, thank you for all the long hours and hard work you put into this. Today Sophia was fitted for a soft band Baha which we weren’t informed was an option until I read about it on here. I was also able to get in touch with a lady at Shriners Hospital in Chicago who made us feel very hopeful about having medpor surgery done which again I did not know about medpor until visiting Ear Community. And, to top it all off, we had the pleasure of having met a lilttle girl with artesia through this site. Jennifer Barr and Melanie have been a blessing!!

With a very thankful heart!”

  • Melissa Parish Shemanski, support group member

“Dear Mrs. Tumblin, I have dedicated my professional life to caring for children with congenital differences, and am impressed not only with your devoted care for your daughter, but with your sincere and dedicated commitment to help other children with microtia-atresia and their families. Your wonderful attitude that a child with microtia-atresia can grow up to be anything that she or he wishes to accomplish is spot on. I have taken care of children who have become professional singers, one who even sings opera; others who are scientists; teachers; engineers; an archeologist; and just about anything you can imagine.  Again, I appreciate your interest not only in seeking the best care for your daughter, but to your commitment to realistically educating and helping many other families.”

  • Dr. Burt Brent, (Rib Graft surgeon and pioneer of the “Brent” surgical technique – California).

“Hi Melissa! This group has helped me tremendously. It has given me a ton of info and resources for what lies ahead for my child, Jake. But I think the thing I’ve gained the most at this point has been emotional relief. There are times when I worry about Jake so much and I just cry because it’s not fair. When I feel like that, I immediately visit this page. Even if I don’t post anything, I just click on this page and realize that I am not the only one. It really helps.”

  • Val Fisher, support group member – Pennsylvania

“Im so happy that i found this page. I thought there was no one like me that was born with Microtia. I ALWAYS wanted to meet people just like me. For many years up until my age now (33) in Columbia SC I thought that I was alone and it was no one like me was born with what i was born with. I dont have much anger but I am frustrated with what i have going on and thats hearing. I thank you for this page ♥”
Angela Brannon (support group member)

“Hi Melissa, It was great to hear from you. You have been so busy helping people in such a valuable way. I’m so proud to know you and to watch you become so instrumental in the lives of so many families across America and the world. I hope you are at least half as proud of yourself as I am of you. Your Facebook page is amazing! From time to time I have visited it and have also referred a couple of families to your page. It is so inspiring to see how many lives you have touched. Thank you also for the kind words you shared at the Hands and Voices Gala. I’m not sure I’m worthy of such high regards, but thank you. I hope everything else in your life is going well. Take good care of yourself!  Your mission is very important to the world.” Until the next time, Cheryl.

  • Dr. Cheryl Johnson, PhD, Colorado Audiolgist

“My daughter is 3 1/2years old and for the first time today I feel like we have direction and are getting somewhere with her microtia and atresia. This is all thanks to this group and Ear Community. Melissa, thank you for all the long hours and hard work you put into this. Today Sophia was fitted for a soft band Baha which we weren’t informed was an option until I read about it on here. I was also able to get in touch with a lady at Shriners Hospital in Chicago who made us feel very hopeful about having medpor surgery done which again I did not know about medpor until visiting Ear Community. And, to top it all off, we had the pleasure of having met a lilttle girl with artesia through this site. Jennifer Barr and Melanie have been a blessing!!
With a very thankful heart!”

  • Melissa Parish Shemanski, support group member

“This group has been an amazing resource. Both through the knowledge gained and the people I’ve connected with. Since Sebastian is only 2 months old, I still have time to decide on our reconstruction route, but I visit the forum page often especially before his Dr. appointments to make sure I know all I can know. I’ve already been told by several Dr’s that I know everything they were planning to tell me (in part due to our oldest daughter with BLM, but mostly from the information from this page). And, thanks to you, Melissa, Sebastian is getting a “loaner” hearing aid tomorrow, and should be approved to have funding from the county pay for his permanent one. (since we don’t qualify for medicaid and insurance doesn’t cover it). Without reading your information, we probably would have just paid out of pocket! So, thank you thank you thank you! You’ve provided an invaluable resource for parents and these wonderful children of ours!”

  • Amy Gile, support group member – California

“My son was born with a defect of his left ear called Microtia-Atresia.   So, long story short, I read a publication that I get through the mail every month called “Hands and Voices Communicator”. It’s kind of a little newsletter for members of the Deaf and Hard of Hearing community in my area. It’s cool… but usually there’s not a lot in there that applies to me and my family. This month though, there happened to be a cool little article about Microtia-Atresia, and falling through the medical “cracks”. Yes! Finally, connection! Someone else, in WRITING, actively talking about it! AND she had a Facebook group! Yes! So I joined, and was immediately welcomed, and given advice… and have tons and tons of articles to read through just waiting for me in the group… all within the first 24 hours. Awesome. :)”

  • Lanine and Sandra of The Prism Dragon website

“Hi Melissa, I am so impressed with all of the research that you have done. What a wonderful tool for parents, doctors, students and families. You have made and will continue to make a huge impact on the world. Keep up the great work. Thanks for sharing with me.”

  • Dr. Carole A. Christensen, Ob/GYN – Colorado

“Hi Melissa, I just wanted to take this opportunity to thank you for everything you have done for not only myself but for other people and parents with Microtia and Atresia.  It is really inspiring and has inspired me so much to do as much as I can to raise awareness and support for Microtia and Atresia.  Also, I wanted to thank you for accepting me on your support page.  You have taught me a lot about Microtia which I never knew before and have really opened my eyes.  You were the first person I’ve had contact with and your support was the first one I came across so you were the one that helped me to become a more confident person and start feeling ok about myself and helped me to turn my life around for the better as I’d just come out of a lot of bullying since starting juniors which was pretty much continuous through secondary school for me and I had felt very sad at times in my life.  A couple years back all of this had totally knocked all of my self esteem, self belief and my confidence, but you have helped to rebuild this in me and I will be forever grateful for that.  You are a truly amazing woman and I love hearing about your experiences with Microtia and Atresia with your gorgeous daughter, Ally.  You really are inspiring.  You have helped me to know what I want to be aiming for in life and the things I want to achieve.  Thank you.”

  • Bethan Harvey, support group member – England, UK

“I had found this group through Melissa’s invite about 3 months ago. Ever since, I have been blessed to meet some awesome people through this group. My daughter, Emma, 6 years old, had her corrective Medpor surgeries within these few months and I had received much of supportive encouragements as well as comforts through it all from some of you, thanks! Before this group, I felt alone in this and didn’t seem to have anyone to relate to and to share the common concerns. I used to belong to some other Microtia group which was much larger and the only things I got from it was great infos, but never this personal of a connection. This group truly amazed me by the friendliness and the warm gatherings.  Actually, a few of the people now are also becoming good friends of mine. Thank you for allowing us to be part of you! love, Nina and Emma : )”

  • Sarinah Tran, support group member

“Hi Melissa, I think what you have accomplished and continue to do is just amazing! Keep up the incredible work. All the best, Sheryl”

  • Dr. Sheryl Lewin, Medpor Ear Reconstructive Surgeon

“I would have been lost. We adopted our son who was medically fragile. We were so busy caring with his other issues, that researching his microtia and atresia was just too overwhelming. To have others answer my questions as well as have quick access to information has been a heaven send.”

  • Julie Winterton, support group member

“Hi Melissa, Thank you for the response. As a matter of fact, the main reason I e-mailed you was because I respect what you have done with your Facebook Microtia site so much. I see how passionate you are about everything you are doing and I deeply respect that. I feel that this is going to be the gold standard for parents [and individuals] with Microtia, your site is different. I know that you are monitoring it and I appreciate the time you are putting into it. Your Microtia Facebook site is a breath of fresh air and is extremely well organized and informative. Keep up the wonderful work and please let me know if there is anything I can do to help. You are very inspirational to so many people. I would love to embrace your support group. Also, I did see the nice comments a few days ago and it was very humbling.” Thank you again, Dr. Bonilla

  • Dr. Arturo Bonilla, Rib Graft Ear Reconstructive Surgeon

“We also adopted our new born daughter and never heard of M&A. We did some looking and found this awesome site right on FB. Melissa has been there and has always helped us out with quick responses and finding out information for us if need be. This site is so informative and Melissa is building it bigger and bigger every day it seems. I would like to personally thank her for all her willingness to help and support all of us who are clueless or just need information or someone to help explain info or terms. I applaud your willingness to help others and love being able to ask or talk about our kids to others in the same situation. Kudos to you Melissa. Thx again.”

  • Michael Giovengo, support group member

“I’ve learned so much from the group since my daughter, Eden, was born with RMA in September (2010). My first reaction when she was born was panic and shock, but within hours I found the group and starting talking with Melissa. I still find myself being real protective and a little insecure around people that haven’t met Eden, but this group has given me such a great perspective. The most important thing though is all of the important research that has already been done for me. I’ve spent hours reading and researching different options that are available for Eden, and everything is right here for me in this group. At our first ENT visit ‘the best’ doctor in Omaha wasn’t going to mention a BAHA until I brought it up. Eden is being fitted for her first BAHA in 2 weeks. He also told me that Atresia repair surgery would not help with her hearing, and he suggested that we don’t pursue it. If it wasn’t for this group I most likely would have taken his ‘expert’ opinion as a fact. I absolutely love reading about other parents who are going through the reconstruction process. This group has done more for my acceptance and understanding of our situation than anything the doctors and nurses could have ever taught me. I can’t wait until we’re at the point that we’re able to make a decision about what surgeries and procedures are best for Eden. For now though, I look forward to reading more wonderful stories and learning everything I can so when our time comes I will be confident we’re making the right decision for our beautiful little girl!!”

  • Jay Kathol, support group member

“Ten years I have been Googling Microtia and you finally came up!!! thank you Melissa!!!”

  • Joanne DiMicelli, support group member

“Hi Melissa, Ronnie forwarded me the article you wrote and the website for patients and families with Microtia/Atresia. Thank you, thank you for providing this support to families. It is through sites like yours and people like you that families get accurate and important information about how best to take care of their little loved ones. My sincere appreciation to you for what you have done – and you have beautiful children!” Dr. Kesser

  • Dr. Brad Kesser, Canalplasty/Atresia Repair Surgeon

“Unfortunately, we were unaware of the Facebook site until after Manny’s combined microtia/atresia surgeries. In fact, Dr Sheryl Lewin is the one who told us about it and said she thought it was a great resource. While I was able to connect with some families prior to surgeries, I felt somewhat alone and lost in the overwhelming journey and surgery preparations. The Facebook site would have been extremely helpful prior to surgery, but it is still very helpful now, post surgeries. I have since then spread the word to other microtia/atresia families I am connected with. The information is well-organized and non-biased. A huge thank you to Melissa!”

  • Tiffany Wilke, support group member

“I would like to encourage everyone to join this Microtia and Atresia Support Group. My wife and I use it everyday. It definitely reduces our stress and anxiety to see that other couples are going through similar things and how they handle them…we can all learn from each other and try to give our kids the best available options. From medical articles to insurance coverage…it’s all there! Thank you Melissa, so much for starting the group. It gave us much needed hope for the path ahead!”

  • Anonymous, support group member

“Hi Melissa, just a note to say that thanks to your FB group, I have conducted research on advancements in technology since I last saw anyone regarding my own experience. I came across a specialist here in Calgary, Alberta who examined me and learned, in spite of believing for my entire life that I was deaf in my left ear, there may now be a possibility of hearing! There is more testing required, and will require the BAHA. I am not sure what will come of this, but I wanted to say thank you for providing such valuable information on this site. I am still in shock over this news, and can only imagine how life changing this can be for others!”

  • Angela Park, support group member

“I have learned so much since joining the FB page…And I just want to say thank you for all the time and effort you have put in to keeping everyone up to date. You are a real angel.”

  • Ilana Grotius, support group member

“My name is Vera and I have a 4 months old baby boy Jayden with Microtia/(maybe Atresia?). We still got a long journey before Jayden’s surgery so I am so appreciative of all your researches and commitment in this topic. What you are doing is truly a “public good”. Thank you!”

  • Vera Liang, support group member

“We are about 4 almost 5 months post op from Medpor reconstruction. …We wish we would have done it sooner, but I didn’t know that there were options out there till I found this group. I thought the only option was the rib graft and the multiple surgeries at an older age. We were waiting till he got old enough to do that, but it was effecting him psychologically. He was very shy and introverted. Now that he has this new Medpor ear, he is a changed boy for the better. He is talking and no longer shy. He shows off now and before he would’ve hidden his face. Believe me, this ear has made all the difference in the world for him! Good luck in your decision, I know it’s a tough one to make.” Thank you Melissa!”

  • Jenny Middlebrooks, support group member

“Hi Melissa, Just wanted to let you know this group has already helped me!! My daughter Nicole is 9 and having surgery with Dr. Thorne in January. Through this group I was able to ask another Mom that used him some questions and see a before and after picture that I desperately wanted to see. Great job Melissa and thanks everyone!!!”

  • Ginny Wallace, support group member

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